Hale and Hearty in the Hail

Jack looked at the broken glass in his hand, the precious fluids spilling over into the sand. The half-eaten watermelon lay on the ground, dropped in surprise at the shattering of his glass. The little pink umbrella that was in his piña colada lay beside the watermelon, amidst the small pieces of shattered glass. His gaze followed the trail of fruit, juice and broken glass to the blonde in the bikini lying on the towel. Her suntanned body and white swimwear were stained by the liquid. More importantly, her mouth was half-open in an expression of surprise and her sunglasses were askew on her face, lenses shattered. She seemed unconscious, blood starting to flow from what looked to Jack like injuries caused by a baseball to the face.

He looked around and saw it. A baseball in the sand, twice the size of his fist. It was melting in the hot sand.

The pain coursed through him, bringing him to his knees. It felt like he had been shot between the shoulder blades. Jack turned, looked at the ground, and picked up the ball of ice. It had already started to melt in the hot Mexican sun. He looked up, starting to be aware of the rest of the scene around him. The beach was chaos, people looking at the sky, people running aimlessly or towards any cover they could find, and people lying on the beach unconscious or dead.

Another ball of ice landed at his feet. Jack tossed the remains of his glass away and picked the ball up as well. Both balls were perfectly formed from ice, smooth and icy blue and identical. His hands had begun to numb from the cold, but he continued to look at the balls. In the center of each, he could barely make out an object. Jack stuffed the balls into the pockets of his shorts, picked Diane up, and made his way towards the nearest cover as he could without getting either of them killed. Should have spent more time at the gym, he thought in passing, as another ball of ice smashed into his back and knocked the breath out of him. It was all he could do to not drop Diane. He dropped to a knee to catch his breath. Jack looked up at the lifeguard station, maybe thirty meters from where he stood. He could make it.

The next instant, the back of Jack’s head exploded and his world went dark.


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